This Week in the Big Ten

March 20, 2017

[ONE // penn state earns back-to-back ncaa wrestling titles]
Penn State won the 2017 NCAA Wrestling Championships on Saturday at Scottrade Center in St. Louis, capturing the seventh NCAA wrestling title in school history and second in a row. The Nittany Lions’ title marked the 11th straight year that a Big Ten school has claimed the NCAA Championship, with six of Penn State’s crowns coming in the last seven years. The Nittany Lions’ Zain Retherford earned his second straight 149-pound title, while Jason Nolf claimed the 157-pound championship. Vincenzo Joseph won the 165-pound title, while Mark Hall was victorious at 174 pounds and Bo Nickal won the 184-pound division. Penn State amassed 146.5 points, while fellow Big Ten member Ohio State came in second with 110 points. Four other Big Ten schools also finished among the top 10 — Iowa in fourth place (97 points), Minnesota in seventh (62.5), Nebraska in ninth (59.5) and Michigan in 10th place (47.5). Two other Big Ten wrestlers claimed individual titles at the NCAA Championships. Iowa’s Cory Clark secured the 133-pound championship, while Ohio State’s Kyle Snyder earned his second-straight 285-pound crown, becoming the first wrestler in NCAA history to win an Olympic gold and subsequently win an NCAA Championship and the fifth wrestler in NCAA history to win an Olympic medal followed by an NCAA Championship.

[TWO // three men’s teams secure sweet 16 bids; underwood hired by illinois]
Congratulations to No. 4 seed Purdue, No. 7 Michigan and No. 8 Wisconsin on advancing to the Sweet 16 in the 2017 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship. The Wolverines and Badgers were responsible for knocking out two of the top eight teams in the tournament as U-M stunned No. 2 Louisville 73-69, while UW ousted defending national champion and top-seed Villanova, 65-62. Elsewhere in the tournament, Michigan State fell to No. 1 Kansas and No. 1 Gonzaga outlasted Northwestern in the second round, while Maryland lost to Xavier in the first round. In the NIT, Illinois remains alive and will face Boise State on Monday night at 9 p.m. Speaking of Illinois, the Fighting Illini have announced the hiring of new men’s basketball coach Brad Underwood, who led Oklahoma State to the NCAA Tournament this year before getting beat by Michigan in the first round.

[THREE // terps, buckeyes advances to sweet 16; four still alive in wnit]
Four Big Ten schools – No. 3 seed Maryland, No. 5 Ohio State, No. 9 Michigan State, and No. 9 Purdue – were named to compete in the 2017 NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship, it was announced this past Monday night. In addition, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan and Penn State earned bits to the Women’s National Invitation Tournament (WNIT), it was announced late Monday evening. All four teams have advanced to the third round of the WNIT, while Maryland and Ohio State have advanced to the Sweet 16. Michigan State dropped a first-round contest, while Purdue fell in overtime at No. 1 Notre Dame . For a complete breakdown of the Big Ten in the postseason, click here.  

[FOUR // indiana’s king leads hoosiers and big ten at ncaa championships]
A total of 62 Big Ten competitors from 11 different schools were in action this past at the 2017 NCAA Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships, hosted at the IU Natatorium in Indianapolis. Indiana led the Big Ten contingent with 185 points, good for an eighth-place finish. Minnesota (168) and Michigan (159) were 10th and 11, respectively, followed by Wisconsin (98) in 15th, Ohio State (52) in 19th and Northwestern (40) and Purdue (33) in 21st and 23rd. Other scoring teams included Iowa (26) in 26th, Nebraska (15) in 33rd, Penn state (10) in 36th, and Rutgers (1) tied for 47th. Highlighting this past week’s action was Indiana’s Lilly King winning the 100-yard (56.71) and 200-yard (2:03.18) breaststroke, while Minnesota diver Yu Zhou earned gold on the 3-meter board with a winning total of 392.75 points, as did Northwestern diver Olivia Rosendah (335.30) on the platform.

[FIVE // penn state wins hockey title in overtime thriller; three advance to ncaas]
The fourth-seeded Penn State Nittany Lions won their second consecutive double-overtime game to capture their first-ever Big Ten Hockey Tournament with a 2-1 win over Wisconsin on Saturday at Joe Louis Arena. Liam Folkes scored his second goal of the game, 6:43 into the second overtime to clinch the conference's automatic qualifier to the NCAA Tournament. Freshman goalie Peyton Jones was named the Tournament Most Outstanding Player after he made 51 saves in his second consecutive marathon. Folkes, Erik Autio and Vince Pedrie were also named to the team from the Nittany Lions, while Ohio State’s David Gust and Wisconsin’s Luke Kunin earned All-Tournament Team accolades as well. On Sunday, three Big Ten teams were selected to participate in the 2017 NCAA Division I Men's Ice Hockey Championship, with No. 1 seed Minnesota, No. 3 Penn State and No. 4 Ohio State earning bids.

[SIX // hockey hardware & hobey honors]
The Big Ten announced the hockey All-Big Ten teams and individual award winners this past Monday as selected by the conference’s coaches and a media panel. Minnesota’s Tyler Sheehy was named Big Ten Player of the Year, while also earning Co-Scoring Champion honors with Ohio State’s Mason Jobst. Minnesota’s Eric Schierhorn was named the Goaltender of the Year for the second consecutive season, while teammate Jake Bischoff was tabbed the Defensive Player of the Year, which is awarded to a defenseman or forward. Wisconsin’s Trent Frederic collected Freshman of the Year laurels, while Badger head coach Tony Granato was selected as the Coach of the Year. Two days later, Sheehy was named a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award. A native of Burnsville, Minn., Sheehy is the 15th Gopher to be named a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award. 

[SEVEN // michigan wins women’s gymnastics title]
Michigan earned the 2017 Big Ten Women's Gymnastics Championships title on Saturday, securing its 23rd overall and fourth-consecutive title. The Wolverines tallied 197.300 points en route to the team title, followed by Illinois in second place with 196.875. Iowa finished in third with 196.725 points, Nebraska placed fourth with 196.475, Ohio State earned fifth with 195.525, while Michigan State and Penn State rounded out the top six with 195.200 apiece. The conference's individual awards were also given out following the championships. Michigan’s Artz was named the Big Ten Gymnast of the Year, marking the tenth time a Wolverine has won the award. Nebraska's Taylor Houchin was tabbed the Big Ten Freshman of the Year, while Iowa head coach Larissa Libby was named the Big Ten Coach of the Year for the second time in her career. Earlier in the week, 16 gymnasts from seven different schools earned first-team All-Big Ten honors, while an additional 18 gymnasts were named to the All-Big Ten second team.

[EIGHT // indoor track and field honors announced; outdoor season begins]
The Big Ten announced the 2017 Big Ten Men's Indoor Track and Field postseason award winners on Thursday following the NCAA Championships. Penn State's Isaiah Harris earned Track Athlete of the Year recognition. Michigan's Grant Cartwright claimed Field Athlete of the Year honors, while Indiana's Kyle Mau was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year. On the women’s side, Purdue’s Devynne Charlton earned Track Athlete of the Year recognition. Ohio State’s Sade Olatoye claimed Field Athlete of the Year honors, while Penn State’s Danae Rivers was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year. The 2017 men's and women’s outdoor track and field season began on Friday, with six schools opening their campaigns. Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Ohio State, Purdue and Rutgers were all in action on Friday, while Maryland opened its season on Saturday. Six other schools will make their 2017 outdoor debuts on March 24, as Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska, Penn State and Wisconsin will begin competition next Friday.

[NINE // take us out to the ballgame]
BTN will offer its most extensive baseball and softball coverage ever in 2017, with over 400 games airing on BTN/BTN2Go and BTN Plus during the upcoming season. BTN’s television coverage of Big Ten baseball begins with a conference showdown between No. 21 Michigan and Maryland on Saturday, March 25 at 7 p.m. ET. BTN’s television coverage of Big Ten softball begins Friday, March 24, when Rutgers visits Indiana at 6 p.m. ET. A preliminary schedule can be found here, with more games to be added to the TV schedule at a later date. The BTN Plus streaming schedule can be viewed here.

[TEN // badgers softball standout honored nationally]
Finally this week, one day after being chosen as the Big Ten Player of the Week, Wisconsin’s Chloe Miller was selected as the Louisville Slugger/NFCA Division I National Player of the Week for games played March 6-12, the NFCA announced on Tuesday. Miller had a monster weekend at the plate for the No. 24/23 Badgers. Helping Wisconsin to a 5-0 showing at the Colorado State Classic, she hit .800 (12-for-15), slugged 1.800 and registered an .842 on-base percentage. The Bettendorf, Iowa, native connected on three home runs, recorded four doubles and one triple, while not striking out and walking four times. Additionally, Miller, a senior, knocked in 14 runs, including three four-RBI games, and scored 11 times. Miller is the first Big Ten student this season to earn NFCA weekly national honors and the first Big Ten position player to receive the NFCA’s weekly national award since Michigan’s Sierra Romero on March 8, 2016. She is also the first Wisconsin student chosen for the honor since Michelle Mueller on April 15, 2014.